Whittaker's Weekend Takeaway: Where does Champ's power come from?

Golf Tips

Elite coach Dan Whittaker talks us through the swing of Cameron Champ, the 23-year-old phenom, and now PGA Tour winner, who averages 328 yards off the tee

Unlike some of the other longer hitters from over the years Cameron Champ is technically pretty orthodox. In truth he doesn’t even look like he’s going at it that hard.

If we look at the video below in normal speed he winds everything up really nicely and together. When you slow it down it is amazing how much he rotates his hips in the backswing. The old adage of restricting your hip turn is not on show here and I’m not sure you’ll ever hear much of it again as it creates more problems than it solves.

If you have someone like Cameron restricting his hips, with the speed he has and the disassociation that he creates in the transition between his pelvis and upper body, he would get so trapped with his arms that he would never get the club back to the ball.

He creates a lot of downward force in the backswing so that will create the room for his arms on the way back down. Then in transition he starts down with the left knee quite early, so that separates a lot from his right knee, and that squat will shift the pelvis while the upper body is staying a bit closed.

With the driver through impact once the left knee has gone outwards the left heel comes slightly off the floor as you are hitting up on the driver. The force that was pushed into the floor goes back up through his body and the left leg straightens at impact – you see it a lot with today’s power players, Justin Thomas does it, and they all get quite  active with their feet with the driver.

If we want to get really technical by having the left arm against the chest it creates the power and, if that angle can tighten just a fraction, that is a key indicator of extra power. He’s not unwinding the shoulders at the same rate as the hips, which go first, so the angle of his left arm and shoulders is tightening very slightly and that gives you extra distance.

I’m amazed that he tees the ball so low here but, because he has so much speed, he creates the backspin and he can get away with launching it so low and still get loads of power.

The final thing to notice is how  he opens up massively through the ball which is quite common with players who hit the ball a very long way.

His numbers are out of this world. The one we should be looking at is the ball speed of 197mph and his smash factor as this show how efficient you are. I know Francesco Molinari’s goal was to get his ball speed up to 170 so that tells you quite how well Champ hits it. He can also control it, hit knock-down irons and has a great short game so he’s got the whole package.

What you should practise

Obviously I’m not going to suggest that you can replicate much of Champ’s swing but loading the pelvis up is one way of adding some extra distance. There are a couple of really useful drills in this video to help with this. Good luck.

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